It is that time of the year again, wen we look in retrospect, we analyze what went right and what went wrong over the past 12 months, and we start thinking of where we can improve. Most of us make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to lose those extra pounds, eat less meat, exercise more, procrastinate less. But, it is often that we set the goal so unrealistically high, that our enthusiasm to keep up with the resolution fades away sometime mid-January.
Now, how about, this year, we all try to do something different. Instead of focusing on physical appearance, why don’t we focus on reducing energy use by looking into the way we handle our precious electronic devices? Sounds like a good idea? This is where we can start!
1. Forget the “stand-by” option of TVs and Game consoles
Did you know that TV boxes are the second biggest energy consuming appliance in an average home? And did you know that 40% of the energy consumption of an Xbox 1 console comes from the stand-by voice activation feature?
Shocking, yes, but also quite easy to fix. This year, turn off the TV box when you are done watching, and maybe, instead of recording that show they play at 3 a.m., opt for streaming instead. And the Xbox, play as much as you like, but use the switch when you are done. Yes, it will not start right away, when you enter the room, but this small “inconvenience” could save you a lot of money (and reduce emissions from energy generation in the mean time).
2. Recycle the old
One of the most popular Christmas presents is an upgrade to a newer model of our favorite gadget- better smart phone, sleeker tablet, faster laptop. These three are among the most often received and loved gifts from Santa. But while they put a huge smile on our faces, they also create a pile of old gadgets that have to be disposed of in one way or another.
Throwing away electronics carelessly is an issue that we have raised and discussed many times, so it is a big No-No to just dump gadgets in a landfill. But it is also bad to store these in a drawer somewhere in the house, simply because many are still in a top condition and can be used.
How about, this year, we dig out all these old electronics, and do a bit of research. Many companies, including Apple and Amazon, are willing to give you money for your unwanted gadget- even if it is broken.
3. Your gadget is your next best outdoor companion
How about making a resolution to get outside more this year? Nature is beautiful, and you can be surprised how often the most picturesque and sacred little places are hidden just an hour away from your house.
Your best bet to keep this up is by involving your smart phone. There are numerous apps and GPS functions that can help you track your steps or explore unknown areas. Some can help you explore whole cities by putting you in virtual realities and giving you all the information you need about new places. Others can help you find the most nature-filled paths, or the best routes for biking.
Make the gadget your next best companion, who is always there and never lazy to join you and keep you motivated.
4. Use renewables to recharge
We all know how much energy it takes to charge our smart phones every day. What is more, it is quite a nuisance having to search for a plug every time the battery is drained.
How about, this year, you make a point to use only renewable energy to change your gadget. There are so many portable solar chargers around to suit every budget and every person- just find the one that works best for you, and do something great for your pocket and the environment.
5. Upgrade with DIY
Now, now, admit- how many times have you opt for a new gadget instead of exploring the possibilities of fixing the broken? Yes, it needs time to either find someone to repair it, or to try to do it yourself, but trust me there is something so rewarding in giving your gadget a second life- all by yourself.
DIY can be great! It keeps you away from all your daily troubles and can distract you so much from your worries, that once you make a habit of it, you would wonder why you have not done any of this until now. And, hey, you get something tangible out of it too!
Go online, find repair or DIY guides, follow the instructions, and see how far you can get. Save some money, have some fun, and the benefits will just start rolling by themselves.
Ngoc Diep (The Green Optimistic)